October 16, 2006

The Replacements

A fascinating question posed by Deadspin today:

Here's a question: Considering how much gruff the late Cory Lidle had to deal with during his baseball career for being a replacement player, why does no one in the NFL seem to care that Saints coach Sean Payton was one as well, for the Bears in 1987? Not to spoil another stirring Saints win, but we do find it surprising that this is rarely brought up, considering Lidle was never able to live it down.
A few reasons, I'd say. First of all, I don't know that it's correct that Lidle "was never able to live it down." He pitched in the majors for years, after all, and I never heard about him being an ex-replacement until he had that blowup with Arthur Rhodes in August, right after he was traded by the Phillies.

Another reason is that Payton never actually went on to an NFL playing career of any significance; he went into coaching not much later, and I hadn't been aware that ex-scabs are looked down upon by players once they've moved on to coaching.

But the biggest difference of all is probably that baseball has both had a more acrimonious labor history in recent years*, and a stronger union more likely to punish dissenters. In the '87 strike, remember, about a third of the players ended up crossing the picket line, and the strike failed when the players essentially gave up.

*Speaking of which, Bill Madden in the New York Daily News says a new labor agreement has been tentatively reached, and will be announced at the World Series. That's great, great news, and I'm surprised no one else has picked up the story.

Posted by Stephen Silver at October 16, 2006 11:33 PM

Rick Reed really never was accepted. The sad thing is that most of these players really weren't around then, and they they don;t the first thing about labor unions.

Posted by: Jeff S at October 17, 2006 09:34 AM
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